Battery drain. - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 05, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Angry Battery drain.

Apparently I have a short causing my battery to drain. The battery is a new Die Hard, so I doubt if that is the problem. What is the correct and systamatic procedure to find this short and which tool. Just to mention. I have a internal 140 amp Powermaster alt, a new underdash stereo with amp in the trunk. Installed by myself. I do a clean install. No micky mouse jerry rigs. The starter gear will not engage at times on the first turn of the key at times..just a click, but always works and starts.Bad brushes??? I just mentioned these because the drain seemed to start soon after the above was installed. It is driving me crazy to disconnect the battery every time I park it. Thanks for any ideas guys. Dan
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 05, 09:08 PM
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Re: Battery drain.

disconnect neg battery cable. connect a DVM set on the 10 amp range, 1 lead to the empty battery post, the other to the cable. meter will read how much current you're drawing. start disconnecting stuff and watch the meter. a clock, or the mem wire on the stereo will draw a little, I'd disconnect those first. Then start unpluging the entire car. I'd do the junction block behind the battery first, that'll disconnect everything except the main starter lead. Meter drops tozero, hook it back up and unplug the alternator, if that doesn't drop it, go inside and start yanking fuses.





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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 29th, 05, 11:19 PM
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Re: Battery drain.

Jim is right, but I'd suggest a lower-tech alternative. Use a test lamp instead of a DVM. Or use both a test lamp and the DVM in series. The test lamp has self regulating properties that will prevent high current from flowing. If while using the DVM-only approach, you develop a short of some sort, your expensive DVM will blow it's fuse or worse. I've seen more that a few DVMs that rattled after poking around a car's electrical system set to read amperes. But the method that Jim describes is about the only way to find the short you're looking for.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 05, 08:02 PM
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Re: Battery drain.

good point, Dave. I've smoked a few dvm's myself when set to amps.





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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 30th, 05, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Angry Re: Battery drain.

OK....PLEASE forgive me. I am not an electrical tech. Ok...I have a "power on" circuit tester. So, with the pos. and neg. connected, but not ignition.(key off), I ground the clip and put the probe to the positive of the item being tested...right? So how does this gizmo tell me I have juice sucking from the battery when it should not. Is chasing down this short or drain going to be a pain??? It irritates the heck of me, because I am a electrical moron. Please give me a systematical, step by step as best you can of how I do this. When is it ok if this thing lights up, and what should not light up with the key off, but batt. cables connected. God, I feel dumb here. Dan
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 05, 06:44 AM
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Re: Battery drain.

you need to connect it IN SERIES with the battery. What you described is a parallel connection

As I said in my first reply, pull a terminal off the battery. While it doesn't matter which one you use, neg is safer, won't smoke the world should it touch something.

Connect 1 lead of the test light to the battery (tape it on, or use a set of jumper bables) Connect the other end to the battery cable (the loose one which you removed). If you imagine a the wiring is a river, connect it so ALL the water must flow through the light.

depending on how much of a current draw you have, the light may be pretty dim, but ANY light indicates some current flow. Again, a certain amount of current with everything off can be normal if you have a clock or a modern stereo, those things do draw a tiny amount of power even with everything off.





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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 05, 09:28 AM
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Re: Battery drain.

With the key off, touch your alt pulley with a screwdriver and see if it's magnetized, if it is ,try unpluging the field wires on the alternator, the blue and white.This seems to be a common problem. I had it, and found a bad regulator.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Mar 31st, 05, 02:44 PM
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Re: Battery drain.

Here's yet another alternative that's worked for me and it definately won't damage a VOM. Remove the postive battery cable, place on lead on the cable and the other on the frame or other sufficient ground. With the VOM set to OHMS start unplugging things until it reads or close to Zero.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 05, 11:14 AM
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Re: Battery drain.

I had recently purchased a new DVM.

In doing the check on battery drainage, I set it up on a 20A scale, (no 10 amp scale available) and my reading is a between a .02 and a .03 on the negative battery post to cable.

Is that amount a reason for concern, or is it insignificant drainage?
I do have a ditigal radio and the battery will run down after setting for some time.

I could not get any ohms on the Pos cable to ground test..

Am I doing something wrong?

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Apr 15th, 05, 11:36 AM
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Re: Battery drain.

There might be a lower amp scale range you could use on the meter. However, 20-30 milliamps, .02-.03 amps., would be normal for keep alive memory in the radio, if it is digital, meaning electronic memory to remember radio stations, output selections, and clock.

Unplug the radio and find out. The alternator may have some leakage, a very small amount, hopefully.

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